Understanding neurodiversity 

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Health Assured team

15 March 2022

It’s estimated around one in five people are neurodivergent. 


The concept of neurodiversity aims to reduce stigma around learning and thinking difficulties. It’s a way of viewing differences in the brain as mere differences rather than defects. It challenges misconceptions around learning difficulties. Neurodiversity considers the whole range of human minds and discourages viewing one style of brain functioning as right or normal. 

Instead, this view focuses on the advantages of these differences rather than the challenges. By taking a non-judgemental approach and embracing neurological differences, we can find helpful methods of support.

The term describes several different conditions including:

  • Autism
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia 
  • Epilepsy
  • Intellectual Disability 
  • Other learning disabilities 

Neurodivergence recognises these developmental disorders as normal variations in the brain. This view encourages people to consider adaptations that we can make for neurodivergent individuals. 


A different way of viewing the world 

People with neurodiverse brains view the world differently. They tend to process information in alternative ways. It can sometimes be difficult for others to understand these differences. So if you’re neurodivergent, you might have a hard time communicating your needs, feelings, and thoughts. 

But it’s important to remember that these differences can also bring new ideas and strengths. For example, people with autism tend to excel in logical subjects, memorise information quickly and have high attention to detail. 


Mental health and neurodiversity  

There is often a link between neurodivergent conditions and mental health problems. For example, Mind finds that people with ADHD are more likely to experience mental health problems like anxiety, depression, substance abuse and sleep problems. 

There is also research that shows individuals with learning disabilities like dyslexia may be at higher risk of depression, anxiety, loneliness and substance abuse. 

Many of the symptoms associated with neurodivergent conditions impact mood, behaviour and thinking. We must recognise these increased risks to mental health issues and try our best to support people who need this.


Supporting neurodiverse individuals 

Neurodiversity brings both benefits and challenges. It’s also very common in our world. So we must learn effective ways to support people around us. Below we’ve put together some tips to get you started. But keep in mind that individual needs may vary. 

Making communication work 

Try to talk in a quiet place with minimal distractions. Use accessible language—avoid jargon and long words. Follow their lead and let the conversation flow at their pace. Speak slowly and take your time. If you’re unsure if you’ve understood them correctly, check your understanding rather than just guessing. 


Sometimes when we are going through challenges, it can feel like we’re alone in our struggles. If someone opens up about their problems, take the time to validate their emotions and put yourself in their shoes. Listen carefully and try to make them feel heard and understood. This helps to build them back up and boost confidence levels. 

Ask about their needs 

Everyone has their individual needs in relationships and life. If you want to support someone with a neurodiverse condition, it’s helpful to understand their needs. Listen openly and try to ask open questions that help you get to the bottom of how best you can support them, whether it’s at work, at home or with a loved one. 


Help with Neurodiversity from Health Assured 

Here at Health Assured, we have experience helping neurodiverse individuals to thrive and overcome challenges they face. We also help workplaces to support neurodiverse employees to excel in their roles. Our wellbeing experts are here to help, simply get in touch with us on: 

UK: 0844 892 2493

ROI: 01 886 0324


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